Week of April 6th...
LA Staff News
Please continue to check in on students and staff regularly!
Monday: Staff Zoom--9 AM
Complete the staff survey for LPS: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LPSVLStaff
Let's Talk is a new app that we hope you can promote to parents and students who may have district questions. The link is on the front page of the website.
Make sure we are not asking kids to do anything that would require the purchase of supplies/materials.
Which day will be your self-declared EARLY RELEASE?!?! Yes, I'd declare it for Friday, but that may not be what our kids need. Make sure you schedule one for yourself this week!
Tenured teachers: Please schedule your summative evaluation with me between now and April 24th.
Please Schedule Yourself an Early Release Day This Week!!
LPS Video Conferencing Guidelines
Video-conferencing gives teachers and students an opportunity to connect and provide valuable
information for learning activities. The following guidelines have been developed to ensure
productive and safe online communication between teachers and students.
Video Conferencing Program:
● Google Meet (Hangout)
● Instructions for Google Meet can be found HERE
LPS Staff Guidelines
● The teacher will create a video-conferencing invitation through Google calendar or by
sending individual invitations through GMail, Canvas, or Google Classroom. (K-3
students will not be able to access through email). All students will have access through
their school Google account.
○ Links can be shared through SeeSaw and Google Classroom (which is now
● A video-conference should only be facilitated with groups of students. Teachers in
grades PreK-8 should not host a video-conference with individual students unless
needed to meet particular services and accommodations.
○ If a teacher needs to schedule a 1:1 time with a student, they should work with
the parent (the teacher is encouraged to contact the parent/guardian) to schedule
a time. The teacher may record video-conferences so that they can review the
information later if needed. If the meeting is recorded, Google Hangout Meet
should be the program utilized due to the storage location and retrieval options.
○ A teacher may ask for additional support, paraprofessional/administrator/another
teacher, during conversations when appropriate.
● The teacher will make every effort possible to facilitate the video-conference in a
location that is free of distractions, and creates a professional presentation.
● The teacher will review student expectations at the start of the video-conference.
Students will be asked to mute their microphones until called on.
○ The teacher should share with the students at the start of each video-conference
that students are identified by their student name. Special care should be taken
in tweeting or sharing screenshots of meet-ups, including removing any student’s
personal identifiable information.
● The teacher will attempt to call on each student during the video-conference and monitor
the chat window for questions.
● The teacher may also choose to only offer video-conferencing as a Live Stream. This
allows for one way communication, but does allow students to see the group.
● The teacher will use reasonable methods to protect the student's educational record
information and personal identifiable information.
Student and Home Guidelines
● Parents/Guardians will help their child find an appropriate location in their home to
participate in a video-conference. Recommended locations are the kitchen table, family
room or other open areas. Parents are welcome and encouraged to sit with their child
during the video-conference.
● Students will mute their microphone until they make a comment or ask a question. This
reduces feedback noise and talking over each other.
● A student can turn the camera off if they are not comfortable with being seen during the
● Students can use the chat window to post questions and comments.
Formal Meeting Guidelines (IEPs, 504 Plans, Counseling meetings, etc)
● Parents/Guardians need to provide verbal consent for video conferences to be held for
the purposes of conducting IEP and 504 Plan meetings.
● A video conference time should be selected that works for all parties involved.
If parents/guardians have questions regarding virtual classroom/video conferencing, please
contact your student’s building administrator.
A Note from Dr. Moore...
Two weeks ago as we began this new and unfamiliar journey, I asked you to enter this time with grace and flexibility, focusing on your own and your students' emotional well-being first. I shared with you my hopes for the two weeks ahead. Those two weeks have now turned into a few more. During this time, I have made many observations and received feedback from educators, parents, and students. I would like to share some of that with you as we move forward in our new learning environment for the next few weeks.
Reflections from the last two weeks:
- I have been so impressed with the focus on relationships first. Learning should continue to be secondary right now. I love the tweets that show teachers making connections with students. Keep that up!
- Many teachers are using social media and video-conferencing to check in with students or posting instructional activities.
- Teachers are not giving "busy work" as much and are instead focusing more on weekly projects/activities for students to accomplish throughout the week. I appreciate you thinking outside of the box and not just assigning daily work.
- Thank you for not holding students to a strict late work policy. With the internet being unreliable and many students at home during the day alone or taking care of siblings, we must be flexible. Students' grades should not suffer because of this pandemic.
A few thoughts I would love for everyone to consider moving forward:
- Students and staff should not be spending several hours a day on homework/work. This is not a time for any of us to feel unnecessary stress.
- We have many parents who are essential workers. They have found it very difficult to go to work during the day and also help their students at home. Please keep that in mind.
- Your health and self-care is of the utmost importance to us. Many of you have children at home that you also need to take care of during this time. I have learned myself that this is not easy.
- We are in this together! Please stay positive. Do not ever hesitate to reach out!
I do believe that education will not look the same when we do go back to school. Part of the work of the High School Study Team and our Innovative Teams at the middle level is to reimagine what our schools can look like in LPS. This is our opportunity to think outside of the box and have some fun with students in a new way.
If you have not filled out the survey sent out by Dr. Tucker, please do so. This will help us make adjustments as we move forward. Your voice is important.
Thank you for all you do! I know this has not been easy on any of us. New challenges arise each day, but new opportunities arise each day as well. Keep up the amazing work!
Impact of Closure on At-Risk Populations
Everyone loses when schools close down, but how do we close the gaps for at-risk students?*
Covied-19 has changed the way we do business as a school. As the outbreak of the coronavirus escalates and many school leaders scrabble to revise the teaching and learning methods; one would be remiss not to consider the vulnerabilities of our at-risk students and families.
Marginalized groups who are poor or stricken with poverty mindsets will face many challenges staying above the devastation that will come as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.
For the sake of clarity let’s define poor vs. poverty. Poor is about liquid cash and assets. Poor means your resources are low, your money is low, and you have limited access to resources. Poor families still have family support, they still value education and are taught that education is the key to a better quality of life. Poverty on the other hand is a lack of something that you need on the inside. Poverty is embedded in crisis, trauma or a scarcity of life essentials. Poverty is a mentality tied to feelings wrapped in emotions. The lack manifest into a mindset that negatively impacts the mind, body and soul.
Children in poverty don’t have access to reliable caregivers who offer a sense of stability and predictability. They typically come from single parent homes with parents who tend to be emotionally detached. Out of the impoverished mindset, a set of mental values have developed. These values play a significant role in how impoverished families interact with the educational system. The mental values of the impoverished mindset are:
• Devalue of education- the impoverished mindset does not value formal education because to them it doesn’t fix the immediate. However, street education does, so more time is spent learning how to become street smart.
• Poor work ethic and attendance- the impoverish see work as a temporary fix to a current need. More time is spent on finding jobs vs. establishing careers. Personal needs determine how much effort is put into working and when to report to the job.
• Disrespect for the process- the impoverished mindset feels entitled to the systems that were developed out of welfare. When these systems are challenged or designed to generate change disrespect begin to surface.
• Difficulty following directions- Brain stems in the impoverished mindset during challenging moments will take flight, fight or freeze.
• Anger and hostility to authority figures-
Two risk factors of poverty students are a lack of emotional and social structure and stress. These students prior to Covid-19 spent large amounts of their daily life living in stressful settings. Many of these students suffer from acute stress that steam from some type of abuse, trauma or violence. For these kids being quarantine at home for the sake of being safe from Covid-19 may not actually be safe. Other students may suffer from chronic stressors which are high levels of stress sustained over a long period of time. These students will find it hard to focus on remote learning when they are focused on surviving. As educators we must consider the characteristics of marginalized groups when creating our distance learning plans.
Three active steps to take to assist at-risk groups with transiting to remote learning:
1. Build relationships with caregivers. We must stop calling distant/remote learning, homeschooling as they are not the same. Parents who homeschool make a conscious choice to do so. The closing of school and the implementation of remote learning due to coronavirus was not a choice made by any parent. At-risk populations often stem from parents who were also at-risk when they were in school. Therefore, distance learning plans should keep the bulk of the responsibility for the teaching and learning on the teacher. Parents become supporters of the process by ensuring their child are active participants in the online classroom. Don’t assume parents will know how to support online learning. Schools must develop parent expectations that clearly inform parents what to do to help the process. Remember if the impoverished mindset values show a disrespect for the process, then we must be intentional in creating an environment that will generate respect. This can be done by approaching parents in a non-threatening way. Consistently communicate the need for their help and partnership. Then provide resources that will develop a partnership relationship. Such as, calling to check on the family when students don’t show up in the virtual classroom. Providing simple step by step literature describing what parents can do to support the virtual classroom. Train parents on how to interact in the virtual classroom through virtual parent meetings. Use some of unallocated funding to purchase basic household needs such as toilet paper, paper towels, basic shelf life foods and attach incentives to parent attendance.
2. Check in on the wellbeing of your students daily- Every home situation is not safe and secure. Some homes prior to Covid-19 were filled with abuse and neglect. School was the safe haven for these children. At school students could escape from the stresses of home and receive hot meals. A national pandemic naturally causes stress levels to heighten as families deal with the uncertainties of what to expect daily, loss of employment, and financial stress. Create fun ways to check on the wellbeing of your students, by having students send you emoji faces depicting their current feelings. Include social and emotional lessons in the virtual classroom and use strategies such yoga or meditation.
3. Keep students engaged in positive experiences- Learning the curriculum is important use this time to be creative with designing learning experiences allowing students to be creative. Also find ways to keep the class together doing fun things such as movie night, virtual bingo, virtual spirit week or hosting a virtual day party.
Credit: Stacey Howard